House of Representatives (Netherlands)

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House of Representatives
Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal
States General of the Netherlands
Coat of arms of the Tweede Kamer.svg
Type
Type
Leadership
Khadija Arib, Labour Party
Since 13 January 2016
First Deputy Speaker
Structure
Seats 150
Tweede Kamer 2017.svg
Political groups


Demissionary cabinet (42)

  •      VVD (33)
  •      PvdA (9)

Opposition parties (108)

  •      PVV (20)
  •      CDA (19)
  •      D66 (19)
  •      GL (14)
  •      SP (14)
  •      CU (5)
  •      PvdD (5)
  •      50PLUS (4)
  •      SGP (3)
  •      DENK (3)
  •      FvD (2)
Elections
Party-list proportional representation D'Hondt method
Last election
15 March 2017
Next election
Not yet determined
Meeting place
The Second Chamber sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague
Binnenhof
The Hague,
Netherlands
Website
House of Representatives
Tweede Kamer

The House of Representatives (Dutch: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal [ˈtʋeːdə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(n) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] or simply Tweede Kamer, literally "Second Chamber") is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands, the States General, the other one being the Senate. It has 150 seats which are filled through elections using a party-list proportional representation. It sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague.

Name[edit]

Although this body is called the "House of Representatives" in English, this is not a direct translation of its Dutch name, the "Second Chamber" or more colloquially just the "Chamber". Rather than "representatives" (afgevaardigden), members of the House are referred to as Tweede Kamerlid ("member of the Second Chamber").

Functions[edit]

The House of Representatives is the main chamber of parliament, where discussion of proposed legislation and review of the actions of the cabinet takes place. Both the Cabinet and the House of Representatives itself have the right to propose legislation; the House of Representatives discusses it and, if adopted by a majority, sends it on to the Senate. Review of the actions of the cabinet takes the form of formal interrogations, which may result in motions urging the cabinet to take, or refrain from, certain actions. No individual may be a member of both parliament and cabinet, except in a caretaker cabinet that has not yet been succeeded when a new House is sworn in.

The House of Representatives is also responsible for the first round of selection for judges to the Supreme Court of the Netherlands. It submits a list of three names for every vacant position to the Government. Furthermore, it elects the Dutch Ombudsman and his subsidiaries.

Elections[edit]

The normal term of the House of Representatives is four years. Elections are called when the government loses parliament's confidence, the governing coalition breaks down, the term of the House of Representatives expires or when no governing coalition can be formed.

Parties[edit]

Anybody eligible to vote in the Netherlands also has the right to establish a political party and contest elections for the House of Representatives. Parties wanting to take part must register 43 days before the elections, supplying a nationwide list of at most 50 candidates (80 if the party already has more than 15 seats). Parties that do not have any sitting candidates in the House of Representatives must also pay a deposit (11,250 euro for the November 2006 elections, for all districts together) and provide 30 signatures of support from residents of each of the 20 electoral districts in which they want to collect votes.

Party lists[edit]

The candidate lists are placed in the hands of the voters at least 14 days before the election. Each candidate list is numbered, with the person in the first position known as the lijsttrekker ("list puller"). The lijsttrekker is usually appointed by the party to lead its election campaign, and is almost always the party's political leader and candidate for Prime Minister. Parties may choose to compete with different candidate lists in each of the 20 electoral districts, but as seats are allocated on national rather than district level, most parties have almost identical lists in all districts with candidates running nationwide. Only large parties usually have some regional candidates at the bottom of their lists. From 1973 until abolition in June 2017 it was possible for two or more parties to combine their separate lists to increase the chance of winning a remainder seat. This was known as a 'list combination' or Lijstverbinding / lijstencombinatie.[1]

Voting[edit]

Citizens of the Netherlands aged 18 or over have the right to vote; exceptions are: 1) prisoners serving a term of more than one year; 2) those who have been declared incapable by court because of insanity. A single vote can be placed on any one candidate. Many voters select one of the lijsttrekkers (Jan Peter Balkenende, for example, received 2,198,114 of the CDA's 2,608,573 votes in the November 2006 elections), but alternatively a preference vote may be made for a candidate lower down the list.

Allocation of seats[edit]

Once the election results are known, the seats are allocated to the parties. The number of valid national votes cast is divided by 150, the number of seats available, to give a threshold for each seat (the kiesdeler); 1/150th is approximately 0.67% of the valid votes. Each party's number of votes is divided by this threshold to give an initial number of seats. Any party that received fewer votes than the threshold fails to gain representation in the House of Representatives. The threshold is one of the lowest for national parliaments in the world, and there are usually multiple parties winning seats with 2% or less of the vote. Any party that received more than 75% of the threshold (1/200th of the vote) will have its deposit refunded.

Exterior of the House of Representatives

After the initial seats are allocated, the remainder seats are allocated using the D'Hondt method of largest averages. This system slightly favours the larger parties. List combinations compete for the remainder seats as one list of the combined size of all parties in the combination, thus having more chance to gain remainder seats. Afterwards, the seats are allocated to the parties within the list combination using the largest remainder method.

Once the number of seats allocated to each party is known, in general they are allocated to candidates in the order that they appear on the party's list. (Hence, before the elections, the candidates near the top may be described as in an electable position, depending on the number of seats that the party is likely to obtain.) At this stage, however, the preference votes are also taken into account. Any candidate receiving more than one quarter of the threshold on personal preference votes (the 'preference threshold' or voorkeursdrempel, 0.1675% of the total number of valid votes), is considered elected in their own right, leapfrogging candidates higher on the list. In the November 2006 elections, only one candidate received a seat exclusively through preference votes, while 26 other candidates reaching the preference threshold were already elected based on their position on the list. If a candidate cannot take up the position in parliament (e.g., if they become a minister, decide not to enter parliament, or later resign) then the next candidate on the list takes their place.

Formation of governing coalition[edit]

After all seats are allocated, a series of negotiations take place in order to form a government that, usually, commands a majority in the chamber. Since 2012, the House of Representatives appoints a "scout" to ask the major party leaders about prospective coalitions. On the basis of the scout's interviews, the House of Representatives then appoints an informateur, who checks out possible coalitions, and formateur, who leads negotiations (in previous years the informateur and formateur were appointed by the monarch). It typically takes a few months before the formateur is ready to accept a royal invitation to form a government and become prime minister. All cabinet members must resign from parliament, as the constitution does not allow a cabinet member to hold a seat in the House of Representatives.

Due to the nationwide party-list system and the low election threshold, it is nearly impossible for one party to win the 76 seats needed for a majority in the House of Representatives. Indeed, since the current party-list proportional representation system was introduced in 1918, no party has even approached the number of seats necessary for an outright majority. The highest proportion of seats won by a single party since then has been 54 out of 150, obtained by the CDA in 1986 and 1989. Between 1891 and 1897, the Liberal Union was the last party to have an absolute majority of seats in the House of Representatives. All Dutch governments since then have been coalitions of two or more parties.

Current situation[edit]

The Dutch general election of 2017 was held on Wednesday, 15 March 2017, and followed the call for new elections after the Second Rutte cabinet had completed its four-year term. The new Members of the House of Representatives were installed on 23 March 2017. At least four parties will be required to form a coalition with a majority (76 seats).

List of Parliamentary leaders in the House of Representatives[edit]

Parliamentary leaders Party Service as Parliamentary leader Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Mark Rutte Mark Rutte
(born 1967)
People's Party for
Freedom and Democracy
(VVD)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
20 September 2012 – 1 November 2012
(42 days)
29 June 2006 – 8 October 2010
(4 years, 101 days)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
20 September 2012 – 5 November 2012
(46 days)
28 June 2006 – 14 October 2010
(4 years, 108 days)
30 January 2003 – 27 May 2003
(117 days)
Geert Wilders Geert Wilders
(born 1963)
Party for Freedom
(PVV)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
16 July 2002
(14 years, 359 days)
25 August 1998 – 23 May 2002
(3 years, 271 days)
Sybrand van Haersma Buma Sybrand van Haersma Buma
(born 1965)
Christian Democratic Appeal
(CDA)
14 October 2010
(6 years, 249 days)
23 May 2002
(15 years, 28 days)
Alexander Pechtold Alexander Pechtold
(born 1965)
Democrats 66
(D66)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
Jesse Klaver Jesse Klaver
(born 1986)
GreenLeft
(GL)
12 May 2015
(2 years, 39 days)
17 June 2010
(7 years, 3 days)
Emile Roemer Emile Roemer
(born 1962)
Socialist Party
(SP)
5 March 2010
(7 years, 107 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
Lodewijk Asscher Lodewijk Asscher
(born 1974)
Labour Party
(PvdA)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
Gert-Jan Segers Gert-Jan Segers
(born 1969)
ChristianUnion
(CU)
10 November 2015
(1 year, 222 days)
20 September 2012
(4 years, 273 days)
Marianne Thieme Marianne Thieme
(born 1972)
Party for the Animals
(PvdD)
15 May 2012
(5 years, 36 days)
30 November 2006 – 24 January 2012
(5 years, 55 days)
15 May 2012
(5 years, 36 days)
30 November 2006 – 24 January 2012
(5 years, 55 days)
Henk Krol Henk Krol
(born 1950)
50PLUS
(50+)
10 September 2014
(2 years, 283 days)
20 September 2012 – 4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
10 September 2014
(2 years, 283 days)
20 September 2012 – 4 October 2013
(1 year, 16 days)
Kees van der Staaij Kees van der Staaij
(born 1968)
Reformed Political Party
(SGP)
9 June 2010
(7 years, 11 days)
19 May 1998
(19 years, 32 days)
Tunahan Kuzu Tunahan Kuzu
(born 1981)
Denk
(DENK)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
20 November 2012
(4 years, 222 days)
Thierry Baudet Thierry Baudet
(born 1983)
Forum for Democracy
(FvD)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
23 March 2017
(89 days)

List of Members of the Presidum of the House of Representatives[edit]

Speaker of the House of
Representatives
Party Service as Speaker Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Khadija Arib Khadija Arib
(born 1960)
Labour Party
(PvdA)
13 January 2016
(1 year, 158 days)
1 March 2007
(10 years, 111 days)
19 May 1998 – 30 November 2006
(8 years, 195 days)
First Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Party Service as
First Deputy Speaker
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Tamara van Ark
(born 1974)
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
(VVD)
23 March 2017
(89 days)
17 June 2010
(7 years, 3 days)
Second Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Party Service as
Second Deputy Speaker
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Martin Bosma
(born 1964)
Party for Freedom
(PVV)
30 June 2010
(7 years, 82 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
Third Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Party Service as
Third Deputy Speaker
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Netherlands politic personality icon.svg Raymond Knops
(born 1971)
Christian Democratic Appeal
(CDA)
26 September 2012
(4 years, 267 days)
7 September 2010
(4 years, 286 days)
1 March 2007 – 17 June 2010
(3 years, 108 days)
11 October 2005 – 30 November 2006
(1 year, 50 days)
Fourth Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Party Service as
Fourth Deputy Speaker
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Stientje van Veldhoven Stientje van Veldhoven
(born 1973)
Democrats 66
(D66)
20 September 2012
(4 years, 273 days)
17 June 2010
(7 years, 3 days)
Fifth Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Party Service as
Fifth Deputy Speaker
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Ronald van Raak Ronald van Raak
(born 1969)
Socialist Party
(SP)
23 June 2010
(7 years, 89 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
Sixth Deputy Speaker of the
House of Representatives
Party Service as
Sixth Deputy Speaker
Service as a Member of
the House of Representatives
Joël Voordewind Joël Voordewind
(born 1965)
ChristianUnion
(CU)
20 September 2012
(4 years, 273 days)
30 November 2006
(10 years, 202 days)
Azure, billetty Or a lion with a coronet Or armed and langued Gules holding in his dexter paw a sword Argent hilted Or and in the sinister paw seven arrows Argent pointed and bound together Or. [The seven arrows stand for the seven provinces of the Union of Utrecht.] The shield is crowned with the (Dutch) royal crown and supported by two lions Or armed and langued gules. They stand on a scroll Azure with the text (Or) "Je Maintiendrai" (French for "I will maintain".)
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands
e • d Summary of the 15 March 2017 Dutch House of Representatives election results
Tweede Kamer 2017.svg
Party Lijsttrekker Votes % +/ Seats +/
People's Party for Freedom and Democracy VVD Mark Rutte 2,238,351 21.3 −5.3 33 −8
Party for Freedom PVV Geert Wilders 1,372,941 13.1 +3.0 20 +5
Christian Democratic Appeal CDA Sybrand Buma 1,301,796 12.4 +3.9 19 +6
Democrats 66 D66 Alexander Pechtold 1,285,819 12.2 +4.2 19 +7
GreenLeft GL Jesse Klaver 959,600 9.1 +6.8 14 +10
Socialist Party SP Emile Roemer 955,633 9.1 −0.6 14 −1
Labour Party PvdA Lodewijk Asscher 599,699 5.7 −19.1 9 −29
Christian Union CU Gert-Jan Segers 356,271 3.4 +0.3 5 +0
Party for the Animals PvdD Marianne Thieme 335,214 3.2 +1.3 5 +3
50PLUS 50+ Henk Krol 327,131 3.1 +1.2 4 +2
Reformed Political Party SGP Kees van der Staaij 218,950 2.1 +0.0 3 +0
Denk Denk Tunahan Kuzu 216,147 2.1 New 3 +3
Forum for Democracy FvD Thierry Baudet 187,162 1.8 New 2 +2
For Netherlands VNL Jan Roos 38,209 0.4 New 0
Pirate Party PP Ancilla van de Leest 35,478 0.3 +0.0 0
Article 1 A1 Sylvana Simons 28,700 0.3 New 0
Nieuwe Wegen NiWe Jacques Monasch 14,362 0.1 New 0
Entrepreneurs' Party OP Hero Brinkman 12,570 0.1 New 0
Lokaal in de Kamer LidK Jan Heijman 6,858 0.1 New 0
Non-Voters NS Peter Plasman 6,025 0.1 New 0
The Civil Movement DBB Ad Vlems 5,221 0.1 New 0
GeenPeil GP Jan Dijkgraaf 4,945 0.0 New 0
Jezus Leeft JL Florens van der Spek 3,099 0.0 New 0
Free-Minded Party VP Norbert Klein 2,938 0.0 New 0
Libertarian Party LP Robert Valentine 1,492 0.0 +0.0 0
Party for Human and Spirit / Basic Income Party / V-R MenS-BIP Tara-Joëlle Fonk 726 0.0 −0.2 0
StemNL SNL Mario van den Eijnde 527 0.0 New 0
Free Democratic Party VDP Burhan Gökalp 177 0.0 New 0
Total valid votes 10,516,041 100 150
Blank votes 15,876 0.15
Invalid votes 31,539 0.3
Total 10,563,456 100
Registered voters & turnout 12,893,466 81.9 +7.3
Source: Kiesraad

Members of the House of Representatives[edit]

Historical compositions[edit]

Representation per party 1946-2006

Until 1956, there were 100 seats. This was expanded to 150 seats, which is the current number.

To give an overview of the history of the House of Representatives, the figure on the right shows the seat distribution in the House from the first general elections after World War II (1946) to the current situation. The left-wing parties are towards the bottom, the Christian parties in the centre, with the right-wing parties towards the top. Occasionally, single-issue (or narrow-focus) parties have arisen, and these are shown at the extreme top. Vertical lines indicate general elections. Although these are generally held every four years, the resulting coalition governments do not always finish their term without a government crisis, which is often followed by fresh elections. Hence the frequent periods shorter than four years.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°4′47″N 4°18′53″E / 52.07972°N 4.31472°E / 52.07972; 4.31472

  1. ^ Gijs Herderscheê (20 June 2017). "Fenomeen politieke lijstverbinding sneuvelt in Eerste Kamer". Volkskrant.